Problems of ageing hair and how to deal with it
Feb, 17 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood once said, “Ageing can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it”. Ageing can be a difficult process for anyone, your body changes in so many ways, and you cease to have the energy and vitality of youth. But of course, it also comes with wisdom, experience, and a sense of comfort with oneself. And, like Eastwood says it can be an enjoyable experience.
Changing skin and hair are some of the worst fears people have about ageing. Grey hair and wrinkles are some of the toughest things ageing have to accept about ourselves, but there are ways to deal with them.
Here, we talk about problems of ageing hair, but before we do that a fact has to be laid out very clearly: ageing is a natural process, and it is not something you can run away from. Ageing and related problems are a fact of life and that has to be accepted. However, a healthy lifestyle can help you age more gracefully.
In terms of hair, the colour, quantity, and quality all change as people age. A study done several years ago shows that the ageing of hair doesn't just affect hair colour but also hair production, and the structural properties of the hair fiber which impacts the overall appearance of hair. Here are some of the problems of ageing hair and ways we can deal with them:
It is normal for young men and women to lose up to a 100 strands of hair a day. As one ages, the propensity to lose hair increases. Therefore, thinning is a natural phenomenon that comes with age. Moreover, hormonal changes also play an important role, especially in menopausal women. So thinning around the front and top of the scalp in women and a changing hairline in men can be expected. In men, hair thinning and eventual baldness is usually caused by Androgenetic Alopecia or male pattern baldness. The reason behind it is Dihydrotestosterone or DHT, an androgen which causes the miniaturisation of the hair follicles, which eventually fall off, without being replaced. A permanent solution in the form of hair transplant exists for those suffering pattern baldness. The process used healthy hair follicles from the back and sides of the head and transplants them on to the bald or balding spots. It is a natural, almost pain free, and affordable way of dealing with losing hair, permanently.
As we age, our hair also appears thinner, which is a consequence of a decrease in the diameter of the hair shaft. A study done on Japanese men, for instance, found that the scalp hair fiber diameter increases to a maximum in the late teenage years and then decreases rapidly with age. Whereas, another study showed that the diameter of the hair shaft starts decreasing after the age of 25.
Dryness is bound to increase with age. And it happens because oil glands in our body contract and become smaller with age. They are unable to nourish the hair as much as they used to. The simple solution to this problem is to oil and moisturise one's hair regularly. Avoiding heat tools to style your hair or not using too many products also helps hair maintain its natural oils, and keep it looking comparatively healthy.
With years, hair follicles do not produce enough pigment, which leads to the greying of hair. This is the surest sign of ageing. By the forties or even in the thirties, most people see the first signs of greying. This is absolutely normal. While some people might feel anxious and disturbed by greying hair, others embrace a salt and pepper look. There are various ways of dyeing hair, which if done properly with good hair care can be used for a long period of time without any side effects.
Brittle and weak hair
Over the years, we have all indulged in different kinds of hair products and chemicals, from dyes, to bleaches and serums. Experts believe that excess use of chemicals over the years leads to brittle and weak hair. It also makes them vulnerable to breakage. Of course, age plays a role. But we add to the problem by using hair products and chemicals indiscreetly. Maintaining a clean scalp and hair, and minimising the use of hair products, hot tools, and eating a healthy diet can definitely keep hair comparatively stronger.
In addition to the above, a variety of factors also compound the problems associated with ageing hair. Stress is one of them. Stress over the years can weaken your hair and can lead to premature hair loss. Moreover, our body is a unit where one part is related to the whole. Studies have shown that gastric problems also impact the health of hair as we age. So what can be done?
To begin with -- be careful of your diet and exercise regularly. A disciplined (one which does not involve junk food) and nutritious diet over the years is a good rule to follow. It not only ensures that your hair remains healthy but also builds resistance to problems associated with ageing. In addition, exercise is a major stress buster. It not only improves metabolism but also nourishes your hair by maintaining a steady source of blood and nutrition to your scalp.
What more can you do? If you think the problem of ageing hair is becoming difficult for you to manage or it is impacting you mentally; then see an expert. They can help you with the required medication and can also advise you on hair products. But remember, you cannot wish your age related problems away. You have to embrace them and ensure that you and your hair look better with age. For those feeling anxiety or depression over ageing must see a mental health expert, after all a healthy mind and a healthy body are both important for our well being.